Contrary to what you may think from reading this blog, I am actually a very private person. No, really. I don't like peeps gettin all up in my business, if you know what I mean. They need to step off. My mother is the same way, and she has taught me all the good tricks: lying on the floor when the paper boy comes to collect money, or when an unexpected visitor stops by; waiting until after midnight to dump trash in the dumpster at the hoity-toity condos next to our house. That kind of thing.
The house where I grew up, and behind which I now live with my own little family, used to be perfect for us secretive, private people who hate to be watched. It USED to be surrounded by beautiful orchards and wild woods, and NOBODY watched us play "Native Americans" in the backyard, or eat our weight in cherries off the trees. Growing up I actually was a little jealous of my friends who lived in posh cul-de-sacs on Grandview Hill, and who fell asleep at night to the sound of the neighbor's dog barking, or some teenagers toilet-papering a house down the street. Our house seemed so out of the ordinary, and I wanted to be ordinary.
But I snapped out of that right quick once I hit my video-making years, and the N family moved in across the street from us. Oddly, these two seemingly unconnected events really had a lot in common: I made silly videos with my friends out on our front porch, and the next day Mrs. N would comment on them, like so: "I saw you and your friends out on your porch yesterday. What were you DOING? What were you wearing? Why were you jumping around with swords?" etc. Anything unusual coming from our front lawn needed not only a full explanation, but also an embarrassing admission that I am "crazy." Maybe she was just trying to be neighborly. I didn't know, because I had never had neighbors across the street before. I didn't know neighbors had time to sit at their windows and watch other neighbors make videos on their front porch. If that's what it means to live in a posh cul-de-sac on Grandview Hill, then NO THANK YOU.
Things just kept getting worse with Mrs. N: "I saw you out doing yard work the other day. What kind of gloves were you wearing?" she would say to my mother, or "you need to tell me why there are balloons on your front porch," "did you get new curtains?" etc. This enraged my mother, who is worse than me in the privacy department, but eventually we adjusted to it, and tried to have joy in the fact that there was still one orchard left on the north side of the house. Well, this was not to be. Ivory Homes has torn our orchard down and replaced the beautiful pear tree blossoms with overpriced monstrocities that overlook our once-completely-hidden-from-view homes and yard. It's embarrassing. I can't walk out my front door without people looking at me. And they ARE watching, lest you think I am just overly-paranoid.
Case in point: a few weeks ago Holden was riding his tractor in OUR backyard, which has been taken over by an Ivory Home. We were minding our own business. Holden was having maybe a little too much fun and he ended up tipping his tractor over. I rushed to his aid, and the ENTIRE family living in the Ivory Home came out on their porch to ask if he was all right. Did the WHOLE family need to come out? Did they? They also came out the other day when we were clearing the Ivory Homes construction trash from our yard. We are being watched. And I hate it.
I REALLY hated it yesterday when I opened my car door and accidentally hit myself smack in the head with it (I mean, who hasn't done that? Really). The pain was excruciating, and I started to scream and cry, then ran inside. I was crying because it hurt. I was laughing because I had just hit myself in the forehead with my car door (and it was definitely gonna leave a mark). I was hysterical because I knew that not only had the Ivory Homes residents and construction workers witnessed this, but Mrs. N had, as well. A few moments later, the phone rang. I immediately assumed that it was Mrs. N, calling to see if everything was okay. The bitter old hag in me would like to say that it WAS her. But it actually wasn't. Yet I am sure that when I see her at church, she'll be asking about it: "I saw you hit yourself with your car door the other day. That looked like it really hurt. Did you get stitches?"